Girls state meet roundup: Marist's Jennifer Tsai wins 4A 800 and helps Spartans to second-place finish

·6 min read

Jennifer Tsai wasn’t going to get beat again.

With the finish line in sight and Baker’s Emma Baeth sitting on her outside shoulder, Tsai found another gear.

In the final race of her prep career, the Marist senior pulled ahead just when it mattered the most to win the 4A girls 800 meters Saturday during the OSAA State Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field.

Tsai crossed in 2 minutes, 21.71 seconds to beat Baeth, who recorded a personal-record 2:21.85.

Tsai came into the meet as the No. 1 seed in the 800 and 1,500 but Baeth pulled off the upset in the longer race earlier in the day.

Tsai said that second-place finish was certainly motivation heading into the 800.

“A lot,” Tsai said. “I mean, she’s very sweet, so no hard feelings or anything, but when I saw her kind of coming up on my side, I was like, ‘No.’”

Tsai’s win, plus a fifth-place finish from teammate Emilie Nelson in a PR 2:23.38, gave the Spartans a late lead in the team standings, though they ultimately couldn’t hold off Philomath, which won with 87 points to 69 for second-place Marist.

Jennifer Tsai of Marist, center, wins the 4A girls 800 meters ahead of Emma Baeth of Baker, left, during the OSAA State Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field Saturday.
Jennifer Tsai of Marist, center, wins the 4A girls 800 meters ahead of Emma Baeth of Baker, left, during the OSAA State Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field Saturday.

The Spartans started the day with a victory in the 4x100 relay as the team of Piper Van Buskirk, Kate Firth, Monroe LaCoste and Sarah Triadou ran 50.48.

Marist trailed when LaCoste got the baton but the senior ran a game-changing third leg to put the Spartans in the lead when she made the exchange with Triadou to close it out.

“It’s definitely a team effort but I did not want to lose so I guess the adrenaline just picked up and I took off," LaCoste said. "It was pretty fun. And Sarah is our super weapon. She is so fast. I knew handing it off to her we were going to win. She’s awesome.”

Triadou proved her teammate right with a second-place finish in the 100 as well, running a PR 12.59.

Breanna Raven of Thurston competes in the 5A girls triple jump at the OSAA State Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field Saturday.
Breanna Raven of Thurston competes in the 5A girls triple jump at the OSAA State Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field Saturday.

Big day for Thurston standout

Breanna Raven came within .007 of a second of having a four-win weekend.

But three wins and one photo finish was pretty good, too.

The Thurston junior, who won the 5A girls long jump on Friday, added individual titles in the triple jump and 200 Saturday, and nearly anchored the Colts to a win the 4x100 relay.

Thurston was trailing when Raven got the baton for the final 100, and she tracked down Taylor Brasfield of Corvallis as the two crossed the line almost simultaneously as the Colts finished in 50.219 to 50.212 for the Spartans.

Raven said she thought she caught Brasfield but she also knew it was really close.

“A little bit of disappointment, but honestly, I’m happy with how we did and we PR’d as a team and that was my main goal,” she said.

There was no time for disappointment as Raven was already competing in the triple jump when the 4x100 took place. Her winning mark of 37 feet, 5¾ inches came on her third jump and no one else came within a foot of knocking her out of the lead.

Raven’s day ended in the 200 with a win in 25.43, and this time there was no confusion who crossed first.

Raven showed plenty of emotion after her win in the 200 and was beaming as she made her way off the track.

“Relief of the end of a big season,” Raven exclaimed. “It was awesome, just happiness. I was very proud of all I’ve done.”

Thanks in no small part to Raven's 32 points, the Colts finished third in the team standings with 57 points. Thurston’s Bailey Tovey also finished third in the shot put Saturday with a PR of 36-8.

Crescent Valley won the team title with 67 points. North Salem was second with 66.

Willamette's Rhys Allen clears the bar in the 5A girls pole vault at the OSAA State Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field Saturday, May 21, 2022.
Willamette's Rhys Allen clears the bar in the 5A girls pole vault at the OSAA State Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field Saturday, May 21, 2022.

PR day ends with pole vault title for Allen

In the biggest meet of her life, Willamette’s Rhys Allen had the best performance of her young career.

The Willamette junior won the 5A girls championship in the pole vault, resetting her PR twice in the process.

Allen cleared an 11-foot bar for the first time in her career to secure the win, then cleared 11-3 for her final mark.

“It was definitely a good meet,” Allen said. “But competing at Hayward is just a whole other experience.”

Allen came into the meet with a 10-9 PR from a dual meet against North Eugene in April.

She opened Saturday getting over 9-0 and then 9-6 on first attempts.

Allen then needed three tries total to clear 10-0 and 10-6. After two misses at 11-0, she cleared the bar on her final attempt to win the meet as the only competitor remaining, Pendleton’s Kelsey Lovercheck, missed on her three attempts at 11-0.

Allen moved on alone and cleared 11-3 before ending her day with three unsuccessful attempts at 11-6.

“This season’s been really interesting because it’s been our first real season back, so I don’t think winning has hit quite yet,” Allen said.

South Eugene's Olivia Allen crosses the final hurdle in the 6A girls 300-meter hurdles at the OSAA State Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene Saturday, May 21, 2022.
South Eugene's Olivia Allen crosses the final hurdle in the 6A girls 300-meter hurdles at the OSAA State Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene Saturday, May 21, 2022.

South Eugene hurdlers get a pair of top-3 finishes

South Eugene’s Olivia Allen and Catherine Touchette each wrapped up the state meet with two PRs and two top-three finishes each.

Touchette and Allen finished 2-3 in the 6A 100 hurdles in PR times of 14.70 and 14.93, respectively.

Their spots on the podium were flip-flopped in the 300 hurdles as Allen was second in 43.57 and Touchette was third in 44.04 — both PRs.

They both had the unlucky timing of being in the same events as Oregon City’s Harley Daniel, who dominated both events. She won the 100 hurdles in 14.06 — just off her state meet record of 14.05 that she set during Friday’s preliminaries — and set the state-meet record in the 300 with her win in 42.25.

Touchette also finished fifth in the long jump on Friday and Ansley Johnston was fourth in the 800 Saturday as the Axe scored 43 points to finish fourth in the team standings.

Sprinter Brahe-Pedersen puts on a show

The 6A sprints lived up to the hype.

Lake Oswego sophomore Mia Brahe-Pedersen won the 6A girls 100 in a wind-aided 11.09 (+3.2), which is tied with current Oregon freshman Jasmine Montgomery for the fourth-fastest all-conditions time ever by a high schooler.

In second was Roosevelt senior and Oregon signee Lily Jones in 11.30.

Those two went head-to-head in the 200 as well, as Brahe-Pedersen won in 23.25 and Jones was second in a PR 23.75.

Brahe-Pedersen’s day began with a win in the 4x100 as she anchored the Lakers to a time of 46.87, just shy of the state meet record of 46.57.

Lake Oswego also won the team title with 77 points. Oregon City was second with 62.

More state meet stories

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This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: OSAA girls state track and field meet roundup from Hayward Field